Technological forecasting can be defined as follows: "A technological forecast is a prediction of the future characteristics of useful machines". There are three things which should be noted about this definition. First, the forecast need only describe the characteristics to be achieved in the future. This description is usually given in terms of operating performance. The forecast need not specify how this performance is to be achieved. Put another way, the forecaster need not invent that which he forecasts. In particular, if the forecast calls for performance characteristics which are beyond the theoretical limits which can be achieved by current technical approaches, the forecaster is not required to describe the successor approach. He has satisfied his obligations by warning that some breakthrough is coming. Second, the term "useful" in the definition is intended to exclude machines intended for luxury or amusement, since these are determined much more by human tastes than by technological capabilities. They are simply excluded from consideration as being too random to predict. Third, the term "machines" is to be construed broadly. The biological and behavioral technologies are just as much the province of the technological forecaster as are the more conventional hardware tech-nologies. Thus "machines" is to be understood as including methods, techniques and procedures.
Joseph P. Martino,
"TECHNOLOGICAL FORECASTING --IDENTIFYING PATTERNS OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE", Proc. SPIE 0071, The Business Side of the Optical Industry I, (7 July 1976); doi: 10.1117/12.965376; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.965376